Raw was live from Albany, NY this week. The road to Money in the Bank continues. Even though it was mostly a filler episode, there were some very good moments, but one very bad one. Rousey and Jax made it official, while the B Squad continues their hot streak. (2 can be called a hot streak right?) Let’s take a closer look at the night.
Why do we keep starting with Boo-Man?
Angle starts the show but it isn’t long before the ring is filled. Stephanie McMahon is first out, essentially taking away most the power Kurt Angle has had. But Roman’s music hits (again with the noise levelling). He comes out asking for another qualifier, then Steph makes a weird comment about his temper. They keep going then Kevin Owens comes down.
He actually has a great promo about how he actually loves Roman Reigns and thanks him for taking out Jinder, allowing him to qualify for MitB. He tries to get the crowd to chant “Thank you, Roman” but not many do. Things get hostile and Steph makes a match between the two.
If 2 is Good, 4 is Better
Owens and Reigns have a pretty good match. Say what you will about Roman being pushed down our throats, he has all the tools necessary to be a top heel. Too bad Vince won’t allow that. A fairly one sided match, Owens bumped all over for Roman, while Roman no sold and powered Owens around. After a quick exchange, Roman hits a superman punch and sets up for a spear, but Owens rolls out. Roman quickly goes after him and hits a spear.
As Roman gets up, Jinder Mahal jumps him from behind. Throwing him into the barricade and into the ring. Owens helps Jinder and starts teaming up on Roman. Rollins music hits and he sprints down the ramp. He is on fire and clears the ring as we go to commercial.
Round 2… FIGHT!
When we come back it’s now become a tag match . Rollins starts like a man possessed, and wrecks Mahal. He tags Roman as Mahal tags Owens. It then turns into a one sided match. Mahal and Owens take turns beating up on Roman. A good false hot tag spot where Mahal interferes, pulling Rollins down, allowing Owens to hit the cannonball senton in the corner. Another commercial, and we come back to more of Owens and Mahal owning Reigns.
Roman finally gets an opening and hot tags Rollins, who instantly takes out Mahal. He has a great back to back suicide dive spot to both Owens and Mahal. Rollins and Owens have a finisher battle, each countering each other, until Rollins rolls through and hits a kneeling Owens with a superkick. Going for the Curb Stomp, Owens rolls out of the way, but Rollins follows with a second. 1,2,3 and your winners Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.
As Rollins and Reigns go up the ramp, Jinder pops out, striking both with a chair. He knocks Rollins off the stage, and strikes Roman’s ribs multiple times, payback for last week. Rollins and Mahal have an Intercontinental Championship match next Monday.
Overall, this was really good. For opening the show, it really helped once Rollins got in there. He should be in the conversation for best in ring performer in the world. He was on fire, as he has been the last few months. I don’t like that they are setting up a weird cross feud where Jinder is now getting a title match. I guess Roman will screw with it next week and we will get a tag match feud, possibly for a MitB spot.
Ooooof, is Russo back there?
Listen, I will give credit where credit is due. Zayn tried his hardest to play it serious, but he had to look at this backstage and be like “You want me to do what?”. An ill-conceived idea, Sami Zayn brought out Bobby Lashley’s “sisters” Cathy, Frances and Jessica . Now I put sisters in quotations because, in true Vince McMahon fashion, the sisters were dudes in drag. Then, it got even worse.
The sisters then accused Bobby of beating them, bullying them and emotionally abusing them. They did this accompanied by props, a broom for self defense, a helmet for protection and a towel for wiping away all the tears. Lashley comes down during this, and roasts them about how they look, all while looking way to happy the entire time (wait for it).
Then Zayn gets serious and threatens Lashley. Lashley stops smiling (see, I am a great actor), and goes after Zayn but is held but the guys in drag. They hold him while Zayn happy hops around as he beats up Lashley. Lashley breaks out, and of course, uses each prop on each “sister” to dispose of them. He celebrates in the ring while Zayn stares at him from the ramp.
Just, wow. I didn’t expect much, but this was… a thing? It was pretty bad, and doesn’t really get me super excited to see Lashley/Zayn at any point. Should have Zayn either be a smart heel, or a fun face, and right now he is a boring heel in a a boring angle. One of the two that came to Raw from Smackdown is doing something. I’m also surprised that the PG era allowed the allegations from alleged “women”. I guess since they are dudes and have facial hair, it’s funny? I don’t know, I’m now old.
Ember Eclipsed Bliss
A nice quick match, was opened with a curious promo by Alexa Bliss about the Visigoths sacking Rome. Bliss comes out accompanied my Mickie James. The match starts and Alexa gets the early advantage on Ember Moon, eventually getting Moon to the outside and throwing her into the barricade. Alexa controls for a few more minutes before Embers gets a comeback.
As Ember gets ready to finish Alexa, Mickie James jumps in the ring with a foreign object. The ref sees her and kicks her out. As she throws a tantrum, Moon lays her out, giving ALexa the opening for a roll up. A 2 count, before Ember takes back control. Moon goes to the top and hits Eclipse. 1,2,3 and winner Ember Moon.
It was good for what it was. I was thrown off by Alexa quoting real ancient history on WWE programming, normally we forget things after a few months here. Would be nice to not have 3 commercial breaks during this match though.
Baron Ends Jose
Fast paced match. No Way Jose starts on the offensive, getting Baron Corbin to the outside. Jose’s offense stalls and Corbin catches him with a clothesline off the apron. It’s almost all Corbin from here, tossing Jose into the ringpost. Jose gets a small comeback but Corbin catches him on a rebound and puts him down with the End of Days. 1,2,3 and your winner Baron Corbin.
Quick, efficient. Perfect time for Corbin. He still hasn’t truly hit his stride and might never will during this run. Might need a McIntyre type rebuild-rebrand.
The B-Team is Still Undefeated
Yes, the B-Team has done it again. Still in the sharpie B t-shirts. In a rematch from last week they faced off against Breezango. Trading early pin attempts, it looked like Breezango had it under control. Tyler Breeze was rocking in the early going, forcing The B-Team to rethink their strategy. Coming back in with Fandango, Bo Dallas tries a roll up, but Fandango dances above him.
Axel tags in, and they hit the double neckbreaker. 1,2,3 and your winners and still undefeated: The B-Team. They celebrate by giving Cody Graves a hug and stealing Coach’s chair, rolling down the ramp, crashing at the bottom together.
This won’t last forever, but it’s nice to see these guys getting over finally. It’s almost the second coming of Bo-Lieve for Bo Dallas. Hope they don’t get buried for awhile.
Rousey/Jax: It’s On
The contract signing went like all contract signings go, except for one thing. Stephanie McMahon didn’t let either women talk until the very end. She was hyping them up like a middle schooler trying to start a fight. Jax came out first, then Rousey. Rousey had a nice shot about how Steph’s arm is doing. The ladies sat at the table as Stephanie went into a full blown shit starter.
Talking about both of their weaknesses and faults. Nia finally speaks up and says that Ronda won’t be able to get the arm bar on her and signs the contract. Rousey also signs it, then moves the table. She shakes Nia’s hand, but then warns her that she will take her title and her arm.
I mean it’s a contract signing, unless someone goes through a table, it’s pretty usual stuff. What was unusual is Stephanie literally doing the whole promo herself. It’s almost like they don’t trust the performers to speak and perform and sell the damn match. If you want them to be your women’s champion, they gotta be able to sell a match with more than a name.
Ziggler outfoxes Gable.
In a match set up earlier in the night, Chad Gable takes on Dolph Ziggler, with Drew McIntyre stalking outside the ring. We come back from commercial and the match has already started. It’s a technical match to start, both men utilizing their amatuer backgrounds. Gable gets the upper hand, but Ziggler is quick to resort to strikes.
Taking over the match, he works over Gable until Gable counters with a german and a pin. A 2 count, Gable stays on and tries again for 2. Ziggler staggers up, but as Gable gets close, he hits a sneaky headbutt followed by a superkick. 1,2,3 and your winner Dolph Ziggler. McIntyre comes into the ring after the match. He lays out Gable with a Claymore kick.
Give me more McIntyre/Ziggler. They are great douchey heels and with McIntyre becoming a real superstar, this team needs elevated. I do hope we get Shelton Benjamin back for this if it keeps going.
A Fatal Four Way
We have a fatal four way to qualify for the women’s Money in the Bank match. Having two members of the Riot squad in Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan along with Dana Brooke and Natalya. Riot Squad owned most of this match, taking it to Brooke and Natalya. There is a brief moment where the faction members look at each other, then the case. But they laugh it off and go after Natalya.
It’s a quick back and forth between the four girls, ending with Logan and Natalya in the ring. Nat goes for the sharpshooter, but Ruby Riot interferes, allowing Morgan to hit a kick and attempt a pin. Brooke breaks it up but pays dearly for it, getting sent to the outside. Nat knocks Liv out of the ring, then Logan with a clothesline. She locks on the Sharpshooter.
Tap, Tap, Tap and your winner, qualifying for the women’s money in the bank match, Natalya. It’s Moon, Flair, Bliss, Lynch, and Natalya so far.
Eh, we all kinda knew who was gonna win this, unless they wanted to tease a Riot squad split. I don’t see Nat winning it. But with her new found friendship with Ronda, and the WWE playing it up, it would be an easy story to use if Ronda wins the belt too.
In a very slow match, Elias faced off with Bobby Roode. Roode gets jumped while entering the ring, but uses his robe to blind Elias as the bell rings. He is beating Elias corner to corner, before throwing him outside. We come back from commercial and Elias is now in control. A suplex, 2 count and we go into a long rest hold. Elias holds it for a few minutes, attempting to wear out Roode, and us.
Roode breaks out and hits a big spinebuster, which sets up a Glorious DDT attempt but Elias rolls him up for a 2 count. Roode hits a neckbreaker and goes to the top, but Elias catches him. He hits Roode with the Drift Away. 1,2,3 and your winner Elias. As Elias is leaving the stage, Braun’s music hits and he trucks through Elias.
I haven’t seen a great match outta Elias. I’m having trouble thinking of a really good match he has been in. I get he is over with the crowd, but I just don’t see him being more than a novelty act unless he starts putting up great matches. Don’t wanna get pigeonholed into a mid-card gimmick you can’t break out of.
David vs. Monster
Finn Balor and Braun Strowman went for a rematch against Ziggler/McIntyre, but McMahon decided they should fight each other. It was very similar to the Jeff Hardy/Undertaker match from the Ruthless Aggression era. Finn starts out trying to be quick and strike low, but eventually he grabs on. Strowman tosses him off, before striking him with thudding blows.
Braun is just tossing Finn around like a child, throwing him into the ring from the outside, through the ropes. Finn has moments of counters, hitting Braun with dropkicks to the knees and dodging the monster’s charges.
Catching him with kicks, Braun eventually is sent outside. Finn tries to kick him from off the apron, but Braun catches it throwing Finn to the ground. The biggest moment is when Strowman went to run through Balor on the outside, but is caught with a Sling Blade. Giving Finn an opening, he hits a double stomp to the back off the apron.
Then a coup de grace off the barricade. He gets an 8 count before Strowman is back inside the ring. FInn blitzes him and heads to the top, but Strowman catches him. He hits a powerslam. Then another. 1,2,3 and your winner, Braun Strowman. Strowman picks up Finn and stands him in the corner in a show of respect, before pointing to the briefcase.
This was a good match from two vastly different performers. It was a classic in showing how to keep a monster looking like a monster but not completely burying the little guy. I’m glad they let Finn get his in and show himself to be an actual threat to Braun. Will start going a long way once we have the belt off Brock.
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns def. Jinder Mahal and Kevin Owens
Ember Moon def. Alexa Bliss
Baron Corbin def. No Way Jose
The B-Team def. Breezango
Dolph Ziggler def. Chad Gable
Natalya def. Sarah Logan, Dana Brooke, Liv Morgan to qualify for MitB
Elias def. Bobby Roode
Braun Strowman def. Finn Balor
For more news and opinions from the world of MMA and boxing, visit our combat sports page here. Meanwhile, follow us on Facebook for more opinions and analysis right to your timeline.